COLUMNS

  • Rogue-r & Me

    I’ve never been to Kassel, which means I’ve never been to Documenta. Not Catherine David’s in ’97. Not Okwui Enwezor’s three years ago. Documenta 12, in 2007, will be the fifty-second anniversary (while they’re referring to it as the fiftieth, I doubt anyone will dare call it “golden”) of the ice queen of contemporary art exhibitions (which began as an off-shoot of a federal garden show, the rubble of heavily bombed Kassel having been buried beneath a vast rose bed). So when I heard Roger Buergel, D12’s curator, would be speaking in Vancouver about his plans for his really big show, I wanted to

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  • Beaus of Holly

    What's it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live? The Holly Solomon Estate auction on Sunday afternoon at Bonhams in Los Angeles was not your usual sale. In conventional terms it was something of a bust, attracting only a tiny crowd of bargain hunters and a few family friends such as Christine Nichols and Paul Masursky. A lack of current market darlings meant that many lots sold below estimate and a fair sprinkling were bought in.

    Yet, with its startling variety of incredibly low-selling items, the Solomon sale functioned as an alternative art fair, a marketplace of the out-of-fashion,

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  • Taco Swells

    “Here's the thing to remember: Don't make fun of me, make fun of Mary,” Jeffrey Deitch quipped upon my arrival at the opening reception of David Salle's new show at Mary Boone's Chelsea space. Deitch, who had coproduced the exhibition and was working the crowd, whisked me off to meet Salle himself—until we lost one another in the crush. I couldn't even see Boone to make fun of her, though I did spot Ron Warren, her gallery director, being passed a wristwatch in the back office by the smart-looking couple on the other side of his oversize desk. He examined it tenderly, passing it from one

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  • Conspiracy Theory

    On Wednesday night, as part of a weeklong series of talks, the art world’s po-mo poster boy, Jean Baudrillard, promoted his latest text, The Conspiracy of Art, at the swank new digs of Jack Tilton Gallery, a former residence of Franklin Roosevelt. In the second-floor ballroom where FDR married Eleanor, Sylvére Lotringer, founder of Semiotext(e) and the major importer of French theory in the '80s, presented Baudrillard as “pretty much the rock star of French philosophy” with “a New Deal for art.”

    I was charmed to see the decent turnout. Baudrillard's ideas were in vogue about twenty years ago,

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  • Feeling the Love

    Curator and critic RoseLee Goldberg and her husband, furniture designer Dakota Jackson—who, along with Liz-n-Val, must be one of the New York art world’s most instantly recognizable couples—were front and center at the Thursday night launch of Performa 05, a startup performance art biennial (the first of its kind) that Goldberg conceived and directed. The event was hosted by fashion designer Donna Karan at the Stephan Weiss Studio (named for her late husband, who made his sculptures there) in Manhattan's West Village, and was centered on a new multimedia presentation by young Danish

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  • Freaks and Geeks

    As New York City's soul is sucked away by the tripartite hellmouth of gentrification, chain stores, and Starbucks, the West Village Halloween parade is an increasingly precious outlet for the freakiness of yore. Unlike the annual Gay Pride march, which has jumped the shark into corporate-sponsored vanilla-ness, the best part of the Halloween parade is that amateur creatures of the night far outnumber the pros. And, with the exception of the sublimely expressive skeleton puppets that kicked off Monday night’s spookfest, the regular devils and “cereal killers” (“backstabbed” with single-portion

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  • Double Bill

    The opening festivities for P.S. 1's batch of fall shows felt like a fancy version of their summer “Warm Up” series, with crowds hanging out on the courtyard steps, clutching beers in plastic cups, and even shelling out a five-dollar entry charge. Any attempt to navigate the former elementary school’s labyrinthine interior required a map to plot where each show or artist had set up camp. Photographer Stephen Shore, stationed in the café, busily signed copies of American Surfaces, his new monograph of road-trip shots from 1972 and '73; Dutch shutterbug Ari Marcopoulos and his wife presided over

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  • Great and Hood

    “Juanita, slap Fidel!” “Now, everybody DANCE!” Stumbling out of Andy Warhol's film The Life of Juanita Castro, 1965, into the blazing lights of an art fair café has to be one of the more jarring art-into-life transitions I've ever made. The film is being screened in a program selected by London’s cerebral art world playboy Cerith Wyn Evans for the mostly very interesting and well-selected “Artists Cinema” space organized by London-based nonprofit LUX and Frieze Projects. Throughout the Warhol film, which followed screenings of work by Ulla von Brandenburg and Kurt Kren, Evans wriggled with glee

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  • Suite Smell of Success

    Having now visited the ~scope art fair in three cities, I report with confidence that a hotel bathroom is not an ideal setting for viewing art. Of course, participating in ~scope, which sets up camp in hotels near major art fairs, is far cheaper than renting a booth at Frieze (not to mention easier than getting past the latter’s selection committee), and arguably more convenient, since at the end of the day you can go right to sleep in the same room in which you show your wares. So eighty galleries, from San Francisco stalwart Rena Bransten to unknowns from out-of-the-way cities (Mantova? Cachan?

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  • Wall to Wall

    Wednesday—by my count day three of the Frieze Art Fair, though the official opening was still twenty-four hours away—was, for all intents and purposes, Jeff Wall Day. The London art world kicks into high gear for the fair, determined to show the droves of international collectors a good time. Indeed, in its third year, the ostensibly four-day fair has already metastasized into a week-long bacchanal that would, if not for the prospect of sunny Miami just ahead, beg the sobriquet “Fall Break.” In the midst of the madness, Jeff Wall's retrospective at Tate Modern provided an anchor and

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  • Double Deutsche

    The other day, on my glamorous daily bus commute down Hackney Road, I noticed a new sign on the Mecca Bingo complex: Play Bingo NOW! I have never thought of bingo as an imperative, but upon entering the seething opening of Frieze Art Fair number three, it occurs to me that Mecca’s management might have clocked a new cultural trend: “I’ll be at Anton Kern, D-SIX!” a fur-lined New York collector screams over her shoulder as she beats a path to the John Bocks. “Have you heard about the Jenny Saville?! It’s at Gagosian . . . I think it’s D-9!” cries another art tourist as she blithely tramples my

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